Is It Too Hot to Babywear?

Close to 100 Degrees and here I am in a Moby Wrap. Novice choice.
Close to 100 Degrees and here I am in a Moby Wrap. Novice choice.

As the temperature creeps up around 90 here in Northern California, I can’t help feel for those in even hotter climates right now. My sympathy especially to those in late stages of pregnancy or nursing a newborn all day. My Gemini daughter was born right in the middle of June back in 2012, and I remember really suffering through those early weeks without air conditioning and an infant with colic. I looked to babywearing to help me cope with my daughter who constantly needed to be in arms, but silly (novice)me… I had asked for a Moby Wrap on my registry. I knew nothing about babies or carriers. It was a wonder I didn’t completely give up on it following our first sweaty mess of an attempt at using it. An overheated baby can be dangerous, so does that mean you shouldn’t wear them? Is it too hot to babywear?

Nope. Not too hot. Plenty of cultures babywear in extreme heat. Stands to reason that they also have carriers that are appropriate for those conditions. I get asked time and again what my recommendations for Baby Carriers are for climates that are really hot and humid, so I thought I would compile a list of some of my personal favorite carriers for Hot Weather. If you need some tips on how to safely wear your baby during hot weather, I recommend checking out this blog post on the subject. Without further ado, my Top Choices for Hot Weather Carriers.

 

Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)

The ease of use is a big draw for these carriers. They are easy to get a hold of, and durable for travel. I think they are a fabulous choice for a baby that is roughly 5 months or older, who can be worn safely without the use of an infant insert. Obviously you totally counteract the mesh in these carriers if you put an infant insert in there. I typically don’t recommend wearing a newborn in an SSC as a first choice anyway. This goes doubly in the dead of summer.

My partner wearing his personal favorite SSC - an Onya.
My partner wearing his personal favorite SSC – an Onya.

The Onya Baby – This is by far my favorite SSC for Hot Weather wearing. The Next Step has super soft fabric made of recycled water bottles, which is actually UV 50. The Outback is rip-stop Nylon. They are breathable and sporty. What makes this my favorite though, is that it has full mesh lining throughout the carrier. The straps, the waist band, the panel… it all has breathable mesh on it. It really allows for the air to pass through the carrier, making it a clear choice for me over the other SSC’s if I am going somewhere really hot. The built-in high chair also makes it stand out as a top choice for travel to regions that may or may not have high chairs.

The Ergo Performance Ventus – this Ergo model has “3D Air Mesh” which is not lined, and allows air to pass through the panel. The absence of a storage pocket may be a turn-off for some people, but it is a selling point if you are looking for maximum airflow. It is really easy to get a hold of, available at many Big Box Stores if you need something at the last minute before running out of town.

Lillebaby Airflow – This Lillebaby model has “3D Air Mesh” and an adjustable seat that can be adjusted to fit a smaller baby up to a toddler. I like the wide straps for comfort, but if you run really hot they might not be ideal for you. The two storage pockets are great for stashing stuff during a hike or at the beach. The different heights available for the back panel can be used to your advantage in hot situations as well.

Ring Slings

This would be my #1 carrier preference for a summer born newborn. A single layer of light fabric for baby, an ergonomic one shoulder carry with limited fabric wrapped around mom, a supportive and comfortable fit all around. Not to mention it folds up nicely into your bag when not in use. Not all ring slings are created equal – especially when it comes to those appropriate for hot weather. There are tons out there that would work, but some of my personal vetted favorites for the heat are below.

My lovely friend Cho in a Yaro Ring Sling
My lovely friend Cho in a Yaro Ring Sling

Linen Ring Sling – There are numerous brands of Linen Ring Sling out there that I would stand behind. It all depends on your price point and shoulder preference. My top recommendations for linen ring slings, are Sleeping Baby Productions, Sakura Bloom, Heartiness, Li’l Peeper Keepers and Soul Slings (currently available overseas).

Wrap Conversion Ring Slings There are dozens of choices in this category, but some really stand out for me. IndaJani, Yaro, or Maya Wraps. (I know Maya isn’t technically a WCRS, but it is a woven cotton ring sling and fit nicely into this category) These brands all have light, airy weaves, they are supportive for larger babies and toddlers while still allowing air to pass through the sling. Despite the airiness, they’re thick enough to provide comfort and cush enough for your toddler too. These are also all budget friendly brands, so you can use that as an excuse to buy “one more carrier” specifically for the hot weather. You’re welcome.

Wraps

Nothing compares to the comfort and versatility of a woven wrap, which leads me to grab for it even in the middle of the summer. Over the years I have stumbled upon some amazing woven wraps that are great for the summer. Here are a few of my favorites:

So stinkin hot in this photo, but we remain comfy in our IndaJani.
So stinkin hot in this photo, but we remain comfy in our IndaJani.

IndaJani – it is no secret that I am a huge fan of this brand. Handwoven by artisan weavers in Oaxaca, these carriers came from a culture that has been wearing in extreme heat for generations. Leave it to the experts to weave my absolute favorite hot weather wrap. Their thinner weaves are great for summer newborns, while the thick Huini, Tiil and Binni wraps are amazingly supportive and soft on the shoulders for a heavy toddler in a single pass carry. They are so loosely woven, making them an excellent choice for air flow.

Heartiness – If we are being completely honest, the 100% linen linen wraps come out of the bag feeling like a burlap sack, and are beastly to break in. The 50/50 linen/cotton blends are amazing though! Once they are broken in, they are so thin and breathable, yet incredibly supportive. They are really accessible as far as price point too. Great for multi-layer back carries in hot climates.

Yaro – Same can be said about the out of box feel, but a quick wash will soften up these wonderful budget woven wraps. They recently released a hemp line too, bumping them up into one of my top slots for a breathable, supportive, budget friendly woven. They are not quite as loosely woven as the other suggestions, but they are not a particularly tight weave, and I find them quite airy overall.

We're both really happy in this linen Ellevill.
We’re both really happy in this linen Ellevill.

Ellevill – This was one of my very first wraps – a Linen Zara Cloud. Ellevill linen wraps like a dream. It is thin and beautiful and you get some flawless multi-pass carries. They break in really easy too. The really long tapers help make a nice small knot. I wouldn’t call Ellevill a “budget” line though, which is why I do not tend to recommend them as readily.

Wrapsody Breeze Gauze – This is a wonderful choice for a lightweight newborn wrap. It is thin and breezy (hence the name) and aesthetically pleasing. These wraps are not suited for larger babies, and share a price point with some of the woven wraps Iisted above. Although they are great for the summer, they don’t top my list for those reasons.

There are many many many other choices out there, but hopefully this will give you a starting place in your search for appropriate carriers for this hot summer, or your summer travels. As most of us know, NOT wearing the baby isn’t exactly an option… so let’s at least do so comfortably and safely. Keep cool and wear on.

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